Bilt Rewards launches new travel portal, where cardmembers can redeem points at 1.25 cents apiece
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Editor’s note: TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt advisor and investor.
On Thursday Bilt Rewards is launching its own travel booking site, dubbed the Bilt Travel Portal. This new feature allows Bilt Rewards members to redeem points toward paid travel bookings, including flights, hotels and activities. Likewise, it enables Bilt Rewards members without a Bilt Mastercard to earn points when booking travel through the portal.
But perhaps most importantly, it includes the ability to book Disney hotels and park tickets using your rewards.
Here’s a closer look at the Bilt Travel Portal.
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Bilt Rewards launches the Bilt Travel Portal
The Bilt Travel Portal is powered by Expedia, which previously ran the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
According to Bilt, members can book any flight, hotel room, rental car or activity available on Expedia.com through the Bilt portal. Unfortunately, this may mean that some flight options are unavailable. For example, when Expedia ran the Chase portal, members were often unable to book flights on some ultra-low-cost carriers.
Bilt Rewards members can redeem points at a rate of 1.25 cents each toward travel, so 10,000 Bilt points equal $125 in travel. This is the same rate at which points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card are redeemed for paid travel through its travel portal.
You can access the Bilt Travel Portal through the Bilt website or mobile app, but you may need to update your app to see it.
Additionally, Bilt Rewards members without a Bilt Mastercard will earn 1 point per dollar on travel booked through the portal, while members with a Bilt Mastercard will earn 2 points per dollar. The Bilt Mastercard already earns 2 points per dollar on flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises booked directly with the travel provider.
However, cardholders do not earn bonus points when booking through another online travel agency.
The information for the Bilt Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
How does the Bilt Travel Portal compare?
In some ways, the Bilt Travel Portal isn’t as strong as the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. It offers cardmembers the same redemption rate as the Chase Sapphire Preferred on travel purchases but doesn’t offer the earning upside when you book flights (or other travel) through Chase. You earn 5 points per dollar when you book travel through Chase and pay with your Sapphire Preferred.
At the same time, the Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee while the Bilt Mastercard has no annual fee. Being able to redeem at 1.25 cents per point toward paid travel on a card with no annual fee is a great benefit for times when you can’t find award space through Bilt’s transfer partners. It’s the first no-annual-fee card in the travel space to offer this, and since the Bilt Mastercard is one of the only ways to earn rewards on paying rent, it’s a great option for those currently renting an apartment or condo.
The new portal even beats out most American Express cards, which only let you redeem at 1 cent per point on travel booked through Amex Travel. The only exceptions are The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Business Gold Card, which offer 35% and 25% rebates, respectively, on points redeemed through Amex Travel. However, you’ll only get the rebate on first-class and business-class flights on all airlines and all tickets booked with your selected airline.
Citi is in the same boat, too. The Citi Premier® Card has its own travel portal, but you can only redeem at 1 cent per point.
Additionally, one big perk of the Bilt Travel Portal is the fact that you can use it to book Disneyland and Disney World hotels as well as park tickets. This isn’t offered by most competing portals and is a huge benefit for families and theme park lovers that want to subsidize their next trip to the parks.
You can book park tickets in the “Things to do” tab, while Disney hotels can be booked the same as any other hotel.
Of course, we still recommend that you redeem Bilt Rewards through its transfer partners like American AAdvantage and World of Hyatt. This lets you stretch the value of your points and book aspirational awards like luxury hotel rooms and business-class airfare.
That said, for times when you need to get from point A to point B and there’s no award space available, redeeming at 1.25 cents apiece for a paid flight can come in handy. Plus, you’ll earn airline miles and elite-qualifying credit like you would with any other paid airline ticket.
Just note that you most likely won’t earn hotel points or be able to use elite status benefits on hotels booked through the portal, since most hotels require you to book directly for these benefits.
It’s great to see Bilt launch its own travel portal. Its redemption rate of 1.25 cents per point is higher than other no-annual-fee cards, and makes the product even more appealing to those who want a card that earns valuable points without the annual fee.
Again, you’ll typically find more value when redeeming Bilt points with transfer partners. But if there’s no award space on the day you want to travel, having access to a travel portal gives you more flexibility.
Featured photo courtesy of Bilt.
This post has been updated from when it originally published. We removed a section about Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program that wasn’t directly tied to the travel portal comparison.
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